LITTLE ROCK, ARK (September 30, 2013) - The looming federal government shutdown threatens Our House's eleven AmeriCorps VISTA members, who have committed a year of their lives to serving the homeless while living below the poverty line themselves.
These national service members who have come from across the country to help Our House, will not receive their meager living stipend if the federal government shuts down. These VISTAs (Volunteers In Service To America) depend on a federal stipend, which amounts to less than $5 an hour, as their only source of income during their year of full time service. As a VISTA member, they are not allowed to work or have any earned income outside of their VISTA living allowance.
So what does the government shutdown mean for these members of the Little Rock community? Ashley Moses moved from Georgia to work with homeless children at Our House. She took on a rent payment, has to cover the cost of gas and needs basics like food and personal supplies. All this on top of paying off student loans. Her VISTA stipend of $928 a month leaves her with no wiggle room. "Some federal employees may be thinking down the line what kind of impact this will have on them.
Me? I'm worried about tomorrow. I already live day-to-day. I'm committed to these kids here at Our House, but if I can't even afford gas to get to work, how can I continue to serve?"
Our House is issuing an urgent appeal to the community to donate gas cards, Wal-Mart and Kroger gift cards, and funds to help support our VISTA members during this scary and uncertain time. This is an opportunity for our community to say thank you to these men and women who are serving their country through national service. Donations may be dropped off at Our House: 302 East Roosevelt Road, Little Rock or can be made at www.ourhouseshelter.org/donate.